Monday, February 19, 2018

Blogger's Choice Awards: Mystery, Romance, and Fantasy

The Lone Star Book Blog Tours team has voted, and the results are in!  From Best Fiction to Most Engaged Author, we have seventeen awards to hand out to the awesome Texas books and authors featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours in 2017.

From February 15-23, 2018, please join us as we hop around the LSBBT blogs and share the winners, runners-up, and shortlisted titles. Don’t miss it!

Click to learn more about:
Click to learn more about:
Click to learn more about:

2/14: Awards Announcement
2/15: Best Hook & Best Creative Concept
2/16: Best Non-Fiction History, Best Biography/Memoir,  & Best Western
2/17: Best Children’s/Juvenile/YA & Best Series
2/18: Best Literary Fiction & Best Religious/Inspirational/Spiritual
2/19: Best Mystery/Suspense, Best Romance, & Best Fantasy / Alternate History
2/20: Best Cover & Most Engaged Author
2/21: Best Texas Book
2/22: Best Non-Fiction Book
2/23: Best Fiction Book
Best Mystery / Suspense, Best Romance,
& Best Fantasy / Alternate History

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tulip Craze Review

Murder! Murder! Murder!

Tulip Craze is a short story about a man murdered in a field of tulips. Honestly every character seems a tad suspicious of the crime as the events unfold. It's a quick read, and interesting, enough to hold my attention and kept me guessing, with a somewhat expecting, but satisfying ending. I enjoyed how Lynn brings the story to it's closing.

Be sure to check out the book synopsis below for more details about the book.

My Rating: 

Book Synopsis:

Originally submitted for a murder mystery anthology that fell through, Tulip Craze is an exploration of greed, desire, flowers, and of course murder. An idealistic young tulip farmer is found shot among his tulips. Crows loudly proclaim 'murder', but who did it? And why?

About the Author:

Having spent about an equal amount of time in both the US and Europe I feel comfortable in both cultures. A deep curiosity and interest in history, culture and humanity informs my work on all levels. As well as experience with and continued learning of the paranormal.

Currently I live in the Colorado, USA, surrounded by mountains and many fellow writers.
My formal education includes a bachelors degree in Visual and Performing Arts Management, Administration and Policy, but my overall, best education is the school of life, and self-study; I seek out information, experiences and books to inform my writing and my translation work.

Author Website

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Most Creative Concept and Best Hook 2017 Award

The Lone Star Book Blog Tours team has voted, and the results are in!  From Best Fiction to Most Engaged Author, we have seventeen awards to hand out to the awesome Texas books and authors featured on Lone Star Book Blog Tours in 2017.
From February 15-23, 2018, please join us as we hop around the LSBBT blogs and share the winners, runners-up, and shortlisted titles. Don’t miss it!
Click to learn more about:
Click to learn more about:
2/14: Awards Announcement
2/15: Best Hook & Best Creative Concept
2/16: Best Non-Fiction History, Best Biography/Memoir, & Best Western
2/17: Best Children’s/Juvenile/YA & Best Series
2/18: Best Literary Fiction & Best Religious/Inspirational/Spiritual
2/19: Best Mystery/Suspense, Best Romance, & Best Fantasy
2/20: Best Cover & Most Engaged Author
2/21: Best Texas Book
2/22: Best Non-Fiction Book
2/23: Best Fiction Book

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Bulletproof Proposal Promo and Guest Post

Guest Post
by Rebekah Louise
I am very excited to share this post with you. As most of you will be aware, I have published my latest book ‘The Bulletproof Proposal’.

This is my second book and I decided to write a novelette. I love the idea of a short story, the reader can enjoy it in one or two sittings, fitting it in around their hectic lifestyles.

The idea for ‘The Bulletproof Proposal’ came when a close friend of mine was waiting for her partner to propose. I thought about what someone might do in that situation and I think most people would try and gain control, giving rise to the idea for my new book.

This story was an exciting piece for me to write. I took on Lisa’s character with ease as she was fun to write about (I think I could also see some of myself in her). Authors will tell you to write about a topic that you would want to read yourself and this is a book that I would want to snuggle up with. I also love the cover, which I had great fun designing, and I am guilty of choosing a book by its cover, so I hope it will attract you too. My wonderful husband put together the book trailer and I think it is a wonderful teaser of what’s to come.

‘The Bulletproof Proposal’ was published in November 2017, and my hope is that you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it. Please leave a review if you liked it, on either Amazon or Goodreads, and tell your friends and family about it, it would be much appreciated.

To Download 'The Bulletproof Proposal' for FREE (14th February only) click here.

Here is the book blurb & trailer.

After five years of dating Lisa is anticipating that all-important question, will you marry me?

Impatient, Lisa decides to take matters into her own hands and propose to Matt, after all it is the 21st Century.

Only she takes it one step further and with the help of her best friend Mandy, she prepares the ultimate proposal.

What she doesn’t know is whether this will be the beginning of her happily-ever- after or the beginning of the end.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Farmer to Author

Guest Post by
Michael Trant

Things don’t always turn out how you expect them to. Plans change and events outside your control happen, leading to something that was never on your radar before. And for me, one of those things was becoming a published author.

In high school, English was my most disliked subject. I saw a joke recently where a line in a novel read ‘The curtains were blue.’ The English teacher proclaims the author meant the character is depressed and drowning in a sea of despair, or some such. And what did I think the author actually mean? The colour of the curtains was blue. That was my English classes in a nutshell.

In 1997 I finished school, sat the exams and decided to return to the family farm. From there I met my future wife, did a stint as a marine draftsman in Geraldton before taking up farming fulltime on our recently purchased Geraldton properties. Any writing I did was limited to a few strongly worded letters to contractors explaining why we would not be paying their exorbitant rate for shoddy work.
We were travelling quite well, managing to survive a couple of nasty droughts in 2006 and 2007. Those droughts were painful but they led to us setting up a sheep feedlot, which in turn led to a contract with a large export company to depot sheep for them. Three years of hard work and we were able to purchase Gabyon, a sheep station two hundred kilometres east of our Geraldton farms, fulfilling the dream my wife had held for years.

After a couple of seasons setting the new place up to fit in with our farming and feedlot operations, by 2011 we were set for a big year. Our first load of Gabyon bred lambs had arrived into our feedlot, with many more to follow. This was it. Five years of slugging it out and we were about to kill the pig. And then Indonesia happened. The fallout from that saw us go from getting top dollar to not being able to give away our stock.

Regardless of people’s views of live export, few agree the handling of the ban was done well. As sheep producers, we weren’t affected straight away, but I was so angry at what I had seen on the 4 Corners report I penned one of those aforementioned strongly worded letters to the Chair of the MLA (Meat & Livestock Australia) the following day. It must’ve made a mark because he tracked me down a few weeks later at a rally to discuss it.

At the time I wasn’t online much, only using Facebook to keep in touch with school mates. But I could see there were a lot of people on there making some wild claims and accusations, with very few of us farmers to refute them. The MLA recognised this and pushed to get more Ag folk on social media, so one Sunday afternoon I decided to start a blog, Farmer’s Way of life, which ended up being listed by the National Library as a Rural Blog of Significance.

Through all my rants, ramblings, musings and wisecracks, I kept getting told I should write a book, until I finally decided to give it a crack. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (still don’t), so I wrote a scene with a guy swearing up a windmill, mimicking pretty much every windmill fixing episode I’ve ever been in. The original idea was to make a funny novel based on a series of blog posts I called The Golden Rules of Farming; effectively Murphy’s Guide to what goes wrong on farms. After I’d finished the first scene, I wrote a second involving two sheep dogs and found it going from a joked filled observation on farm life to a more contemporary rural story.

Over the next two years I chipped away, sometimes not looking at it for months on end. This was never going to come to anything and we had bigger things to worry about; bushfires, lost markets, government ineptitude and the general shitty situation we found ourselves in.  Eventually I managed to finish, hit save and left it at that. Then I heard about Allen & Unwin’s Friday Pitch, so out it came again for a once over and the first chapter was sent off; in the wrong font, wrong format and wrong everything else. Needless to say I never heard back, but I had the bug. What if?

In between selling off the two farms and generally trying to survive out on the station, I reworked the first few chapters and sent it off again to a couple of other publishers who took unsolicited submissions. Again, nothing. By now I was working FIFO to pay some bills, while still doing the odd blog post. Back on Gabyon we’d just begun a tourism venture, so I started thinking a book would be a good way to get people interested but I needed professional guidance, though there was no way I could justify spending money. I came up with a Kickstarter project, and after a month of campaigning hit the target thanks to eighty one generous backers. This meant I could send it off to a manuscript assessor, whose report came back with some very complimentary remarks and a few suggestions on where to go from there.

Unfortunately in the months that followed my wife and I separated, so the manuscript stayed in the draw for almost a year while stuff got sorted, until one R & R break I found the report, re-read it and got the nerve to try again. The first chapter was sent in one last time, the plan being once that was rejected I’d print it myself, send out the copies to the patient Kickstarter backers and let the rest collect dust or something. And then an email from A&U arrived asking for the rest. Oh wow. Don’t get too excited, they still have to like the rest. But what if?

After a lot of back and forth it finally happened. A contract turned up for WYDJAWANNA STATION. That’s what I’d originally called Ridgeview Station, because that’s what everyone asked when we bought ours. ‘Why’d you want a station?’ The elation of that email was seconded only by the day my advance copy arrived in the mail, twelve months later. Holy crap, that’s a real book! With my name on it! Upon seeing the book, my girlfriend grabbed it and put it on the shelf, next to authors such as Stephen King, Bryce Courtney, Wilbur Smith and G.R.R. Martin. Of course, I was mortified and immediately pulled it down. We’re not quite at that level just yet.

So here we are, with Ridgeview Station on the shelves. I do hope you enjoy it, and if you do, I hope you are able to go for a drive to Gabyon Station. My former wife and her family are still out there. It really is lovely spot with lovely people and you’ll recognise a few things.

As for me, I’ve got two manuscripts I’m polishing up in the hope they’ll get published, and working on a third. I’ve learned quite a lot in the last year, and if I had my time again would do things a bit differently, but for any aspiring authors out there I would offer the following advice.
  • Follow other authors. They were in the same position once as you are. There’s many blogs and posts out there about pitching your manuscript, promoting it and what to do when that elusive contract arrives.
  • Get good feedback. Find an experienced reader who won’t mince words. If you want praise, let your Mum read it. But it’s the criticisms that will tighten your work. It stings, but sometimes something only becomes obvious once someone else points it out.
  • Read the guidelines. Before you pitch your wonderful piece of work, make sure you do everything the pitchee requires. Is it the right genre? Is the formatting correct? Are they even taking submissions? Every agent’s and publisher’s website I’ve looked at has their guidelines there in black and white. If you can’t make the effort to follow them, it’s doubtful they’ll make the effort to read your work.
  • Don’t be shy. You have to promote your work. The publisher will do the basics, but it’s up to you, especially as a first time author, to get out there and sell yourself. It can be hard, especially if you’re not the type to spruik yourself. It’s a fine line between promoting and spamming, but as a first time author people will be reluctant to buy unless they’ve seen or heard good things about your book. So visit the book stores, introduce yourself. Contact book bloggers, offer giveaways on Facebook pages. Setup a website, do newsletters. You need people to recognise your book if they see it in the stores and you have a very short window after release to do so.
  • Don’t sit on your laurels. This is a tough game. Unless your first book went gangbusters don’t assume you’ll automatically get a second one out there. All the same rules apply, and you might find it even harder the second time round if the first one didn’t go so well.
  • Don’t give up. You may have to do re-writes, accept rejections, and never hear back from agents or publishers. This is completely normal. Frustrating, but normal. If you’re lucky, the agent may say why they are passing. That’s a good thing and gives you something to work with. Almost every author has their rejection stories. But eventually they broke through and there’s no reason you can’t either.
I hope these help. At some point I’ve failed to do every one of these things, so don’t feel bad if you have too. It’s very up and down, this writing gig. But when a stranger messages you to say how much they loved your book, I find that’s the best thing to shake off the self-doubt and keep at it.

More About Michael:

Michael Trant is a WA country boy just beginning his new life as an author, following a wide range of careers from marine draftsman to farmer, and pastoralist to FIFO pot-washer. Michael is now based in Perth, having grown up on the family farm at Eneabba, before moving to Geraldton then out to Yalgoo. His debut novel Ridgeview Station was inspired by his time on Gabyon Station, and he highly recommends a visit for those curious about life on a sheep station.

When he's not writing, Michael can be found plucking away at his guitar in attempts to replicate his idol Tommy Emmanuel, or swearing at his beloved Fremantle Dockers. He still travels to Three Springs to drive tractors 'just to keep my hand in,' but despite the advent of autosteer machines, refrains from taking the laptop to write, as that would not end well for power poles, fences or trees.’
Michael currently lives in Perth. Ridgeview Station is his first novel.

Author Links:

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Renaissance Club Excerpt

The Renaissance ClubBy Rachel Dacus

Fiery Seas Publishing
January 23, 2018
Time Travel Romance

May Gold, college adjunct, often dreams about the subject of her master’s thesis - Gianlorenzo Bernini. In her fantasies she’s in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man who invented the Baroque.

But in reality, May has just landed in Rome with her teaching colleagues and older boyfriend who is paying her way. She yearns to unleash her passion and creative spirit, and when the floor under the gilded dome of St Peter’s basilica rocks under her feet, she gets her chance. Walking through the veil that appears, she finds herself in the year 1624, staring straight into Bernini’s eyes. Their immediate and powerful attraction grows throughout May’s tour of Italy. And as she continues to meet her ethereal partner, even for brief snatches of time, her creativity and confidence blossom. All the doorways to happiness seem blocked for May-all except the shimmering doorway to Bernini’s world.
May has to choose: stay in her safe but stagnant existence, or take a risk. Will May’s adventure in time ruin her life or lead to a magical new one?

Buy Links
ISBN: 978-1-946143-41-9  ~  eBook  ~  $6.99
ISBN: 978-1-946143-42-6  ~  Paperback  ~  $16.99
Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Kobo  ~  iBooks
~  Praise for The Renaissance Club  ~
Enchanting, rich and romantic…a poetic journey through the folds of time. In THE RENAISSANCE CLUB, passion, art, and history come together in this captivating tale of one woman’s quest to discover her true self and the life she’s meant to lead. Rachel Dacus deftly crafts a unique and spellbinding twist to the time-traveling adventure that’s perfect for fans of Susanna Kearsley and Diana Gabaldon. — Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author

The Renaissance Club is a beautifully written story about a woman torn between two worlds—the present and the distant past. This time-travel adventure kept me guessing until the end about which world May would choose, and if that choice would be the right one. Highly recommended for lovers of time travel fiction or anyone looking for a compelling story about a woman trying to find happiness. — Annabelle Costa, Author of The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend.

The Renaissance Club shimmers with beauty, poetry, and art. Author Rachel Dacus sweeps her readers away to Italy with her, lifting the senses with the sights, sounds, and tastes of that stunning country; imparting her deep knowledge of Renaissance and Baroque art while immersing the reader in a gorgeously romantic story. This book is time travel at its best! — Georgina Young-Ellis, author of The Time Mistress Series


THE RENAISSANCE CLUB by Rachel Dacus – EXCERPT from Chapter 16

George called them folds in time. She didn’t feel them any differently than normal quakes, but they made her unsteady. She touched the counter. Her mind raced somewhere else. Could he possibly appear here? She felt the doorway appearing at her sides and overhead.
A glimmer all around. Just step through.

May found herself in a room furnished with rough-hewn wood benches and tables, with wooden shelves along the walls holding raffia-wrapped bottles of what could be wine. The shop’s floor was packed dirt. Dust coated the surfaces and a pervasive sour smell clung to the air, fermentation mixed with what could be dead rat. The only ornament was a convex, gilt-framed mirror on one wall. Several small sconces burned with candles, giving inadequate light.

Bernini came out of the shadows looking different than last time. He had circles under his eyes, and his skin was paler. He wore a flowing white shirt and a black jacket, as he often did, but the slashes in the sleeves were frayed, and the jacket was dusty, as if it had been through travels. Perhaps his habit of working until he dropped was to blame—a spell of intense work, with his nervous energy driving him. No matter how weathered he looked, she was thrilled to see him. Each time, he was more handsome than before.

He took her hand and kissed it, his lips warm and dry and his lavender scent strong. The kiss was a sensation like rose petals brushing her skin. His physical reality, with all the subtle changes, pulled on her senses, and hooked into her heart.

“I waited for you for weeks,” he said, “but you did not return.”

“Weeks? But it’s only been two days.”

Still holding her hand, he drew her into his arms and repeated the kiss they had shared at the Villa Borghese, now their second.

“Why are you here?” Her breath was short. She hadn’t expected the doorway to open, not here.
“I’ve come to Assisi to offer my prayers and penitence to Saint Francis,” he said and crossed himself. “See how my prayers are rewarded! They sent you back to me.”

When he smiled, his face lit up. The pallor and fatigue melted away and the vibrant Bernini was with her again. He took her hand and led her to a small table. He dusted the bench for her and she sat, smoothing her skirt to her legs so as to preserve the silk. Its dusty blue sheen wouldn’t have shown a little dust, but it didn’t need any snags, and this wood was rough.

Besides the two of them, the only other patron in the shop was an older man with long hair, wearing a grungy smock, seated at a table in the back. He hunched over his glass, as if pouring his sadness into it.

“Where are we?” she asked.

“This is the tavern of my friend Ruffino.”

“Why are you penitent?” she asked.

“My great patron Cardinal Scipione Borghese has died. We are penitent of course at any death, knowing its nearness can take hold at any time.”

She saw that he was sad. She remembered that this was one of his life’s big losses, and he confirmed it. “I have lost my great patron and my friend.”

She felt sorry for him, but although this event would change his life, it would be a helpful change.
He leaned forward. “Let me show you something. It will please you.”

He took out his paper, unfolded it, and laid it on the table. It held several sketches, views of her elephant bearing the obelisk he had added. In these new sketches, the little elephant that carried an obelisk was smiling. His trunk was upraised playfully.

“I have made him more charming for you.”

“I love it!” She couldn’t resist putting her hand on Bernini’s, where it held the corner of the paper.
They stared at each other as he said, “Eternity is an elephant and also a butterfly.”

About the Author:

Rachel Dacus is the daughter of a bipolar rocket engineer who blew up a number of missiles during the race-to-space 1950’s. He was also an accomplished painter. Rachel studied at UC Berkeley and has remained in the San Francisco area. Her most recent book, Gods of Water and Air, combines poetry, prose, and a short play on the afterlife of dogs. Other poetry books are Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau.?

Her interest in Italy was ignited by a course and tour on the Italian Renaissance. She’s been hooked on Italy ever since. Her essay “Venice and the Passion to Nurture” was anthologized in Italy, A Love Story: Women Write About the Italian Experience. When not writing, she raises funds for nonprofit causes and takes walks with her Silky Terrier. She blogs at Rocket Kid Writing.

Social Media: 

My First Mood Board

This month's #AuthorWouldYou on Twitter is all about relationships! This week I answered questions based off my side character Tony, whom is a bit of a floozy. Here is my mood board that I made based off of him.

This is the first mood board I had ever created, and I think I will be making more in the future. I love it because it's a visual way to capture and interpret your characters. For my side character, he wears a mask, he parties, he enjoys entertaining others, but underneath it all he's very lonely. Oh and I can't forget to mention, he's a bit of a ladies man. I'm really excited about my WIP. It's unlike anything I have ever written before. It's a suspense thriller with a paranormal twist and I cannot wait to finish it and share it all with you.

If you are a writer, I encourage you to make these! It's really helpful when working on your character. If you are a reader, mood boards are a fun way to express how you feel about a character in your book!